11/12 @ 8 pm: SF Live Arts presents Monica Pasqual

monica-pasqual-2Indie Award winning recording artist Monica Pasqual performs on the Cyprian’s Center stage Nov. 12 starting at 8 p.m.  Buy tickets here. She is expected to include work from her deeply personal album with “Is Fortune a Wheel” – a vivid, daring journey into what happens when unforgettable memories are lost by a lover whose ability to recall the past is fading.  These memories, still cherished by Pasqual, are explored through song as she navigates the art of letting go.  The album is a modern-day odyssey through love, pain, loss and the ultimate rediscovery of self. You can listen to some of her music online here.

Monica Pasqual’s Concept Album Explores a Theme that is Rarely Addressed in Pop Music

Everyone understands the need to grieve when someone you love dies, but what about when they slowly disappear right before your eyes, becoming a different person housed in the same body? Monica Pasqual’s new concept album, Is Fortune a Wheel, explores her experience with a more subtle, incessant kind of loss as she cared for her partner of seventeen years who was diagnosed with degenerative brain disease.

The songs propel the listener on a journey through time and place,  a journey which almost mirrors the stages of grief. There is the moment of discovery that something is about to change, followed by the battle of trying to stop the unstoppable.  Even as the change is occurring there is the understandable attempt to hold onto the past and the inevitable realization that it’s not going to be possible. Ultimately, there is acceptance, and the recognition that the only way forward is to move through.

The album opens with the title track, recalling a walk in the Spanish hillside above Granada when it first became apparent that something was wrong. In the midst of a perfectly beautiful day surrounded by idyllic scenery, an encounter with a gypsy generated a foreboding premonition that settled in. As things changed rapidly, tiny and seemingly insignificant moments would trigger vivid memories of earlier times when the love was new, leaving Monica feeling a profound sense of loneliness as she confronted the discord of the current reality. Swann’s Way is a recounting of this carousel and a nod to the French philosopher Marcel Proust. At times these memories of the start of the relationship were overwhelming. The passionate and unbridled beginning of love that was so exciting and unforgettable is explored in the song Wild.  Golden Cuff confronts the alienation and loneliness that Pasqual felt on the road as she tried to hold everything together from afar.

Memories of her sister’s house in the Barcelona hills are at the center of Strings In My Human Heart. Monica and Tom spent time there on several occasions before and after his sickness was discovered and this song explores how experience is tied to place and the conflicting emotion that can go along with that, the desire to abandon the past completely. These special places can be so precious and at the same time so painful as it becomes clear that the good memories experienced there are gone, never to return.

Monica found that the person she had loved for 17 years was disappearing before her very eyes. As his brain declined she realized that she “was losing him slowly – losing his mind, his memories, and a certain essence that his incredible wit and intellect defined.” The essence of what made him who he was dissipated like steam billows out into nothingness. Steam chronicles this parallel between her love and the nature of steam. Steam begins with so much power that it can be used to propel a locomotive and eventually releases into the ether leaving nothing behind. In much the same way her love for her partner began with such immense power and so much of it, but it had come to a point where he was essentially gone because he was no longer able to see her or understand her experience, not because he didn’t want to, but because he just wasn’t capable of it anymore.

To complicate matters further Monica’s band Blame Sally reached a point in their career when things really started taking off. She had to juggle caring for her partner alongside a busy schedule of touring and recording with the band. It was an interesting dichotomy to live through as professionally things began to soar even as this situation in her personal life steadily declined. It was during this time that Monica won in five categories of the Independent Music Awards, three with Blame Sally, and two for her solo album, This Cold Desire.

monica-pasqual-3When Monica came to the realization that she was not able to continue being the primary caretaker for her partner, she found she was simply not able to be the person that she thought she had to be. “No one can say I didn’t try” is one line from Saint in the Yard, which is about  reaching a point where she knew she could no longer deny herself the right to her own happiness and self-actualization. “I could see that I was starting to go down with the ship. To separate from him was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and though I believe I have done everything possible to help him stay comfortable and happy, that decision still hurts me.” The album ends with The Color Blue is Everywhere which was a phrase uttered by a psychic and became the mantra for her new future, transitioning into a phase of reclaiming her power, her nature, and her life.

Making an album wasn’t the first thing on her list of things to do after this overwhelming and often draining process, but when she met and began collaborating with a talented young cellist, the wild and unrestrained nature of their musical connection was just the catalyst she needed to form Monica Pasqual & The Handsome Brunettes. Josh McClain “wields his cello like a post-impressionist brush” and his playing acts as a counterpoint, weaving between Monica’s piano and vocals to create a big, emotionally complex sound.  Together they create a soundscape that is rich in dynamics, moving easily from quiet fragility to unrestrained propulsion. Brilliant percussionist, Pam Delgado is the thread that connects through so much of Monica’s musical life. She is a fellow band mate from Blame Sally and a long time collaborator with Monica prior to the Blame Sally days. Her impeccable rhythm, color, and gorgeous vocal harmonies add depth and breadth to these songs.

Is Fortune a Wheel, was recorded at Opus Studios with the core musicians all in one room to capture the potent energy of the live trio. This was a new way of recording for Monica and made for an incredibly dynamic sound. She then took these core recordings into the studio and worked with her accomplished co-producer BZ Lewis to add more layers of guitar, bass, and looping and brought in the adept Velvy Appleton to play additional guitar.

 

 

 

10/8 @ 8 PM: SF Live Arts @ Cyprian’s presents Spirit of the Modern Ancient, An Evening with Stephen Kent & LAURA INSERRA

SF Live Arts @ Cyprian’s presents Spirit of the Modern Ancient, An Evening with STEPHEN KENT & LAURA INSERRA                                                                                                                                                                                              Tickets here 
Stephen Kent

Stephen Kent

A multi Instrumentalist and composer Stephen Kent’s musical career has taken him across five continents, living at various times in the UK, Spain, East Africa, Australia and the US. His musical scores, composed for theatre, circus and dance companies, have received international acclaim and his work as a performer and recording artist has established him in the world music scene, exploring a broad range of playing styles and musical genres. As a performer on the Australian Aboriginal Didjeridu he has pioneered its use in contemporary music across the globe collaborating with a number of musicians, including Airto Moreira (Brasil), Zakir Hussain (India), Habib Koite (Mali), Omar Sosa (Cuba), Leonard Eto (Japan), Choi Jong Sil (Korea), Steve Roach (USA) and many more. Stephen also hosts Music of the World, a weekly show on Pacifica Radio’s KPFA.

 
LAURA INSERRA

LAURA INSERRA

Laura is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, teacher, and Artistic Director from Sicily. As a musician, her style is a fusion of different musical genres from classical to world fusion music. She composes and performs soundtracks and sound design for dance, theater, art installations, and movies. She performs for public venues, house concerts, weddings, festivals, and site specific performances. Bio / Music

 
She teaches music classes and Creative Explorations Lab for students of all levels. She facilitates the opportunity to draw from your source of creativity and to express your unique artistry. Classes / Creative Explorations / Hang
 
She is the founder and Artistic Director of Samavesha, a multidisciplinary arts organization base out of the San Francisco Bay Area. She produces various site-specific performances and programs involving a variety of local and international artists of all disciplines. Her productions are deeply connected to the environment and the people she works with.

10/29 @ 8 pm: Halloween Scaaarrry Night at the Silent Movies with live music by the Telegraph Quartet & Stephen Prutsman

When Sat, October 29, 8 – 10:30 pm
Where St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, 2097 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA, United States (map)
Enjoy a Halloween Scaaarrry Night at the Silent Movies with live music by the Telegraph Quartet & Stephen Prutsman. First we will screen the 1920 “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and second a slapstick comedy. Wikipedia tells us:

the-cabinet-of-dr-caligariThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (German: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) is a 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders. The film features a dark and twisted visual style, with sharp-pointed forms, oblique and curving lines, structures and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles, and shadows and streaks of light painted directly onto the sets.

The script was inspired by various experiences from the lives of Janowitz and Mayer, both pacifists who were left distrustful of authority after their experiences with the military during World War I. The film’s design was handled by Hermann Warm, Walter Reimann and Walter Röhrig, who recommended a fantastic, graphic style over a naturalistic one.

The film thematizes brutal and irrational authority; Dr. Caligari represents the German war government, and Cesare is symbolic of the common man conditioned, like soldiers, to kill. In his influential book From Caligari to Hitler, Siegfried Kracauer says the film reflects a subconscious need in German society for a tyrant, and is an example of Germany’s obedience to authority and unwillingness to rebel against deranged authority. He says the film is a premonition of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, and says the addition of the frame story turns an otherwise “revolutionary” film into a “conformistic” one. Other themes of the film include the destabilized contrast between insanity and sanity, the subjective perception of reality, and the duality of human nature.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was released just as foreign film industries were easing restrictions on the import of German films following World War I, so it was screened internationally. Accounts differ as to its financial and critical success upon release, but modern film critics and historians have largely praised it as a revolutionary film. Critic Roger Ebert called it arguably “the first true horror film”, and film reviewer Danny Peary called it cinema’s first cult film and a precursor to arthouse films. Considered a classic, it helped draw worldwide attention to the artistic merit of German cinema and had a major influence on American films, particularly in the genres of horror and film noir.

THE LAST EVENING OF SONG: “Whine & Dine: Songs of Food and/or Kvetching”

THE LAST EVENING OF SONG: “Whine & Dine: Songs of Food and/or Kvetching”
BROWN PAPER TICKETS BUY TICKETS @ http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2599303
Saturday, October 1 8 pm $17 door / $15 advance
Hosted by the ever-congenial Merle Kessler & intrepid musical director Joshua Brody, we present, what might prove to be, the final Evening of Song. 25 singers each choose a song to perform on the given theme “songs about food and/or kvetching.“ Since 1987, comic Merle Kessler (of Ian Shoales & Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater fame) and musician Joshua Raoul Brody (of Tango No. 9, the big band Orchestra Nostalgico, and accompanist for Mr. Lucky, Johnny Lonely, Robin Williams, The Residents, Rick & Ruby) have been inviting a few dozen of their closest friends to each sing a song they’ve always wanted to sing, but have never had the opportunity. The resulting show, called An Evening Of Song, is an embarassment — some might call it a humiliation, of riches, ranging from old chestnuts to new originals, jazzy instrumentals to a cappella Bulgarian folk songs, sublime ballads to ridiculous novelties, all accompanied by Brody’s stalwart Experimental Love Orchestra. The result is a little bit Prairie Home Companion, a little American Idol, a little Gong Show, and a whole lot of something you’ve never heard before!

9/10: DIANA GAMEROS Trio & MEGAN KEELY Ensemble

9/10: DIANA GAMEROS Trio & MEGAN KEELY Ensemble

DIANA GAMEROS

Saturday, Sept. 10 @ 8 p.m. * Tickets here

Originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, DIANA GAMEROS creates authentic, inspiring music that reflects the 21st century experiences of an indie artist at the borderlands between cultures, languages, and genres. Now living In the Bay Area, Diana has played with many local favorites, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony and has opened concerts for Bebel Gilberto, Latin Grammy winners La Santa Cecilia and many others. Last month she performed for two nights at the SF Jazz Festival.  In 2013 Diana released her first album Eterno Retorno, a soulful retrospective of her journey as an immigrant. In October of 2014 she received the Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana/Latina Foundation for her work in music and her support to social justice movements. Diana is currently working on writing music for her second album which will be produced by Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade. On this night, Diana will be accompanied by Patrick Wolff (tenor sax/clarinet) and Thomas Edler (upright bass).

With the release of her new album, Ready or Not, MEGAN KEELY is again breaking new ground with songs celebrating life and strength. Her songwriting first caught the attention of producer T Bone Burnett, who selected Megan’s song, Rules (co-written with her brother Brandon) for inclusion on The Hunger Games Soundtrack Companion Album. “Megan Keely is a stunning young woman with a voice that will break your heart and heal it all in one sitting.” – Annie Bacon -The Folk Opera

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